Bern: Switzerland’s capital in a nutshell

Bern is the capital of Switzerland but it doesn’t feel like it, nor is it the most visited city in the country. Some people do assume that Zurich is the capital as it seems to be a more prominent city.

It was the first place I ever visited in Switzerland, so I had nothing to compare it to, however I did rather enjoy not only its location but its historical significance as well.

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The streets of Bern

As you can see the streets of Bern are lovely, they do like to display their brands names all over their buildings though.

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The National Bank

As we’re looking at a picture of a bank, it’s worth noting how expensive Switzerland is, and I found this out when I went to a food van with the sole purpose of saving money on my backpacker budget.

I bought some spring rolls, and while they were a fairly large size for a spring roll I was ill prepared for the whopping price. It was £16 for two spring rolls, which is the most I’ve ever paid for street food in my entire life. After that experience I had to stick to sad supermarket sandwiches.

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Here’s a lovely looking cafe that I couldn’t afford to go in.

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Valiant Bank

Another bank with very neat window boxes filled with red flowers!

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The best bit of Bern for me was the location. The loved the clean turquoise water that you don’t get in the UK and how people swim in their rivers. You can swim in the rivers in Manchester but it isn’t quite the same experience.

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There is an Einstein Museum in the Bern historical museum. Einstein came up with the formula E=MC2 when he was in Bern.

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I really liked the museum, it was there that I learnt about the connection between Einstein and the atomic bomb. Einstein signed a letter to Roosevelt supporting nuclear weapons research as he thought the Germans would get their first.

Einstein famously said: “Had I known that the Germans would not succeed in producing an atomic bomb,” adding, “I would have never lifted a finger.”

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Bern Minster overlooking the River Aare

In the summertime, some people actually swim to work along the river, what an amazing way to commute! I didn’t swim in the river as I was too self-conscious but I wanted to!

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Bern Minster

This gothic cathedral has the tallest spire in the whole of Switzerland.

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Bern Theatre

I think I was a bit obsessed with architecture during this trip as I’ve taken a lot of pictures of buildings. I like the way that they all seem to be a similar shade of yellowy beige, they’re very uniform.

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I was also very obsessed with museums, and went to all of them regardless of quality. That’s the only reason I can think of why I would visit the Alpines Museum, dedicated to the Swiss Alps. It was so cold in there that I think it was trying to emulate the mountains.

I went on Tripadvisor and a German man named Ingo had written: “Inept choice of media and lack of precision.” I think that accurately summed it up. I was surprised to see it had 3 stars so some people must have thought it was alright.

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Speaking of small museums, I also went to the Kunsthalle which has 4 stars on Tripadvisor. It has a small art collection but it didn’t blow me at the time.

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One of the more famous icons of Bern is its astronomical calendar clock, built in the 16th century. Apparently it inspired Albert Einstein. There is a man whose job is the ‘Governor of Time’ and its his job to wind the clock.

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Old city centre of Bern

There are flags ahoy in the UNESCO heritage old centre, first built in medieval times.

The good news is that even though I didn’t swim in the River Aare, I did go wild swimming in Zürich. I love the geography of Bern and Switzerland in general, the only downside is that it is a bit of a sting on the backpacker budget!


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